But piece by piece, he collected me up
Off the ground, where you abandoned things
Piece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in me
Six years old and you know
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece, he restores my faith
That a man can be kind and the father could, stay”
Piece by Piece
A few years ago Ward and I attended two funerals within months of each other. Both were memorial services for fathers who passed from alcoholism and addiction. One, the daughter was in her final years of college and the other was a young professional just starting and establishing her adult life and career. I was moved deeply for these women. How would they ever heal from not just the loss of their fathers but from the absolution of a closed-door to ever knowing them healthy, clear-minded and whole.
I know it is Father’s Day. I don’t know where you are emotionally today. Are you having to get through the day in remembrance of him, trying to hear his voice, see his hands, live his wisdom? Are you having to get through the day in denial of him, trying not to hear his voice, see his hands, living your own wisdom? Are you having to get through this day in wonder, wondering who he is, wondering where he is, wondering if you are worthy of love and belonging?
Consider for just a moment the humanness of fathers. It doesn’t excuse or make “it” okay but it could give you some relief to see his wound. To be reminded his failings aren’t personal, though it feels painfully personal. I pray that as you wind down this day, with all the emotions you may have had to navigate, you will remember this:
You are the child of a kind, strong, and engaged Father, a Father wise enough to guide you in the Way, generous enough to provide for your journey, offering to walk with you every step. This is perhaps the hardest thing for us to believe- really believe, down deep in our hearts, so that it changes us forever, changes the way we approach each day.”
Fathered by God
As I think about the two women now, I just sit in awe. They both have healed forward in amazing ways. I am grateful for what their pieces have brought to my life, even recently. My own father’s last drink was in 1988. One of my most treasured possessions is from him. His one year AA sobriety chip. It’s one of the first things I have packed in our many moves through the years. It stays near me and is usually in a place that I can see the first thing in the morning and one of the last things I see at night. He probably doesn’t remember but he gave it to me and said, ” Here, stick this under your tongue and let it dissolve.” I am not sure I understood then, but I do now. I was 18 then and now I am 46, married with two teenagers. Then I saw it as quitting drinking, now I see it as choosing life.
By choosing life, you chose me, you chose our family. I am grateful that I get to know you and love you healthy, clear-minded, and whole. What you give me this day is unselfishness, honesty, purity, love and tolerance. As in the song referenced above, that a man can be kind and a father can stay. And to you I say, I love you and you are one of my bravest pieces. “Easy Does It.”